VIDEO: E-scooters will ‘park themselves’ in pilot planned in Dublin

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Irish smart-scooter technology company Luna has announced that it has entered into a partnership with US-based JumpWatts, to deploy remote control, self-driving technology which will enable scooters to right themselves automatically if tipped over, and also to be guided to designated parking areas or waiting customers, using semi-autonomous driving features.

By combining teleoperation and computer vision technology, the partnership aims to improve the safety and operational efficiency of shared electric scooter fleets – for riders, pedestrians, operators and cities. The companies are planning to work together on a pilot project in the Smart DCU Campus in Dublin. The embedded video above shows a prototype of the technology being tested near JumpWatts’ HQ in Los Angeles.

The partnership aims to provide a solution to the escalating problem of e-scooters being in the wrong locations relative to user demand. They also want to solve the problem of e-scooters cluttering footpaths, which leads to inconvenience and hazards – particularly for wheelchair users and the visually impaired.

JumpWatts, a micromobility teleoperations start-up, has created ‘Virtual Valet’, a suite of technologies that enables any e-scooter to right itself if tipped-over, remotely re-position itself to a designated parking zone, and be summoned by riders to a specific location. Luna provides world-first computer vision solutions to shared micromobility operators, to tackle the issues associated with e-scooter rental schemes, such as footpath/sidewalk riding, pedestrian collision, and improper parking.

Through the combination of both companies’ technologies in this pilot project, it is envisaged that the adoption of shared e-scooter schemes will accelerate greatly by solving key safety and governance issues being identified by city authorities across the globe. JumpWatts’ teleoperation and autonomous technology combined with Luna’s vision technology will make fleet operations much more cost effective for operators and will make dockless micromobility much more attractive to cities.

The new semi-autonomous fleets enabled by this collaboration will also be able to collect Smart City data ranging from road condition monitoring and crowd analytics to traffic congestion alerts and curbside management applications. The joint technologies will be test-bedded in partnership with Smart DCU, a District of Smart Dublin. Smart Dublin is an initiative founded by the four Dublin Local Authorities, with the goal of future-proofing the Dublin region by trialing and scaling innovative solutions to a wide range of local challenges.

“We are very excited to announce our collaboration with JumpWatts,” says Andrew Fleury, co-founder and CEO Luna. “We are both working towards similar goals of addressing safety solutions for electric scooters and we believe that together we can accelerate our companies’ joint objectives. The issue of e-scooter footpath clutter is one that is currently hampering numerous cities and towns across the world. Luna believes that the combined technologies of Luna and JumpWatts will help to address this issue and offer a solution that will be compelling for both operators and cities alike.”

“The micromobility space is ripe for innovations that not only improve the bottom line for fleet operators, but also create a better experience for users and municipalities,” adds Arun Gunasekaran, co-founder and CEO, JUMPWatts. “Our vehicle enhancement technology, Virtual Valet, is just that — a way to increase profitability and decrease chaos in the streets. Our Virtual Valet technology can be retrofitted to enhance existing fleets or designed into vehicles for direct integration, leading to a 95% reduction in sidewalk nuisances and up to 40% increase in fleet profitability. Utilizing Luna Systems’ advanced computer vision software alongside our offering provides best in class situational awareness for our remote repositioning systems.”

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Lauren is acting associate editor for Traffic Technology International and freelance journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum two busy little girls. She is always in demand!